Vernon councillor Scott Anderson says yet another person has been poked by a discarded needle at Kin Beach.
Anderson’s revelation came during an Interior Health presentation to city council yesterday, after a telephone call from an upset grandmother who said her granddaughter had stepped on a needle.
Anderson called for a rethink of a needle distribution program that offers free needles to drug users.
Tens of thousand of needles are handed out each year.
But medical health officer Dr. Karin Goodison said that without that program, there would be more cases of serious illness in the community.
“If we did not have needle distribution programs or even if we moved back to needle exchange programs, we will see an increase in HIV in our communities and Hepatitis C in our communities,” Goodison told council. “I personally would rather be poked by a needle than get HIV from a partner that I didn’t realize was using drugs.”
Her comments did not satisfy councillor Brian Quiring who told the delegation they were “not doing any favours” by handing out free needles to addicts.
“I don’t think IHA is taking responsibility or ownership,” said Quiring. “I don’t understand how you can just continue to give something out that has potentially harmful effects on citizens and not worry about recovering it.”
Meanwhile, Anderson once again called for a needle buy-back program to be implemented to keep syringes off of public and private property.